FEELINGS OF GRATITUDE TO THE MASTER, THE MOST VENERABLE MAHATHERO THÍCH TỊNH ĐỨC
First of all, we would like to wholeheartedly pay homage to the Late Most Venerable Elder Master Thích Tịnh Đức, Mahathero Visuddhiguno, Depute Supreme Patriarch of the Oversea Vietnamese Theravada Buddhist Sangha, Head Monk of Đạo Quang Temple in Garland, Texas.
Respectfully, Dear His Holiness, the Most Venerable Elder Master Thích Pháp Nhẫn, Supreme Patriarch of the Oversea Vietnamese Theravada Buddhist Sangha
Respectfully, Dear the Most Venerable Master Thích Chơn Trí, Master Thích Huyền Việt, Vice and Head of the Funeral Organizing Committees, along with followers of the Dharma relatives and family relatives.
Namo the Original Master Sakyamuni Buddhaya
Respectfully, Dear the Venerable Monks, Nuns, and lay Buddhists of Đạo Quang Temple
Dear all of you near and far,
In the most recent months of 2021, when the Most Venerable Elder Master Thích Tịnh Đức was still alive, we had many wholesome conditions to accept the invitation of the Most Venerable Master to drive to Đạo Quang Temple to attend the Great Ceremony of Filial Piety Vu Lan and the Great Ceremony of offering the Kathina robes of merit. The Most Venerable Elder Master is a likable, approachable, and easy-going monk. The Master who leads a life of monastery, Dharma flavor, and dearness loves to write the Dharma poems.
When we came to attend the Vu Lan – Parents’ Day Ceremony at Đạo Quang Temple in 2021, with the guidance of the Venerable Thích Chánh Đạo, we visited and paid respects to the Most Venerable Elder Master at his peaceful An Lạc hut. The Most Venerable Master said we should drink tea now, and if there are any poems that we composed, read them happily. With the witness, encouragement, and suggestion of the Most Venerable Master, at that time, we immediately read the poem “Moral Flower” composed by ourselves before.
The Moral Flowers have instilled in the mind,
Compassionate flowers permeate the whole mountain and river.
Each of us is each of monastic person,
Offering life fragrant and delicious flowers and fruits
Even though tomorrow is far away from thousands of the route miles,
We are the Buddha’s children forever.
Bringing the light of compassion to the Dharma Path,
Bringing love to spread everywhere.
No matter how arduous hardships are,
our mind is strong, we can overcome all.
Next, we continued to read the poem “Gratitude”
Life needs to be grateful:
Grateful to the Triple Gem, Teachers, and parents
Grateful to benefactors and donors
Grateful to society and country of peace
Gratitude to fellow sentient beings
Always repaying gratitude to all living things and beings.
When we finished reading the two poems above, the Most Venerable Elder Master Thích Tịnh Đức happily said that the content and meaning in these two poems are filled with different qualities of Dharma flavors and different kinds of gratitude in Buddhism. For the second time in 2021, when we attend the ceremony of offering Kathina robes of merit at Đạo Quang Temple, to pay respects and make offerings to the Most Venerable Elder Master a six-eight poem composed by ourselves with the topic “POEM REVERENTLY OFFERED TO THE MOST VENERABLE MASTER THÍCH TỊNH ĐỨC, THE ABBOT OF ĐAO QUANG TEMPLE” as follows:
POETRY is the meaning of life
REVERENTLY offered to the Elder with many beautiful words
DONATED to the Master with his generous virtue
HARMONY and joy with disciples in diligent cultivation daily and monthly
The UPPER direction is as diligent as the truth
The PURITY and happiness of mind with his great compassion
VIRTUE, good sign, mindful manners
DWELLING firmly in whenever helping life
OBSERVING the pure precepts everywhere
The TEMPLE is beautiful, quiet, shining with love
DHARMA love blooms all over the place
The LIGHT of wisdom illuminates the path of the World-Honored One.
Under the witness and listening of the Most Venerable Elder Master Thích Tịnh Đức, the Abbot of Đạo Quang Temple, before the day of offering Kathina robes of merits, at the Buddha’s Hall of Đạo Quang Temple, we analyzed and shared the Buddhadharma through the poem above. After finishing listening to the comments of the poem, the Most Venerable Master was very happy and continued to read the poem “Smiling” composed by himself.
Still smiling through everything changing
Just as the night ends, the day follows the night.
Walking for a long time, people is tired and stopping for a break
Perching for a long time, sad birds flap their wings to fly.
Escaping a forest hut, the soul is light and peaceful
Splitting the hair in pieces, they will be more troublesome
Nothing loses, nothing gains
Going back to sleep on the reed bank, white clouds fly.
The content of the poem “Smiling” composed by the Most Venerable Elder Master is filled with the stability and freedom, peacefulness and lightness, serenity and calmness of a monastic teacher like the Master. We knew that during the ceremony of offering the Kathina robes of merits, although his physical body had many diseases, especially intestinal diseases, he still smiled to master his physical body and tried to organize the great ceremony of offering the Kathina robes of merits completely.
In a short time after that, when we heard that the Master had been hospitalized a few times. We jointly prayed, meditated, and sent wholesome energies to him. For the last time, we heard the news that the Master recuperated at his peaceful hut of Đạo Quang Temple.
We know that the Master is always calm and peaceful when his illness is in the final stage. At the good points and special features of the Master, people including monastics and lay devotees, came to visit him, and he happily offered them the gas money and airplane ticket money.
He has the attitude of freely letting go, the love of Dharma friends of fellow cultivation, and the love of Bodhi relatives sincerely and truly. Although the Master’s physical body is damaged, his Dharma body has eternally been present and appeared in the minds of the four assemblies of fellow cultivation.
We are post-dharma learners and young generations in the Buddhadharma, although we have only known the Master recently, the love of teachers and students and the love of the Buddha’s children for him are beyond time.
Today, with all our wholehearted respect to the Three Jewels, we kneel in front of his enlightened Soul, pray that the Master will go on a peaceful and free journey, ascend up to the Buddha’s land, return soon to the Saha realm, continue his vows and conduct to save sentient beings, and achieve as his altruistic will.
We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Most Venerable Master Thích Chơn Trí, Master Thích Huyền Việt, Senior Venerable Thích Chánh Niệm, Venerable Thích Chánh Đạo, Venerable Thích Chánh Định, Venerable Thích Nữ Từ Thành, along with followers of Dharma relatives and family relatives who have bidden farewell to the Most Venerable Mahathero Thích Tịnh Đức, Head Monk of Đạo Quang Temple, the respected Master of the many right here and right now in the present life.
Finally, we would like to wish you all full of good health, harmony, and happiness in the present so that together we can take care of the funeral of the Most Venerable Elder Master fully.
We would like to wholeheartedly pay homage to the Enlightened Soul of the late Most Venerable Elder Master Thích Tịnh Đức, Mahathero Visuddhiguno, Depute Supreme Patriarch of the Oversea Vietnamese Theravada Buddhist Sangha, the Abbot of Đạo Quang Temple three prostrations.
Namo the Original Master Sakyamuni Buddhaya
By Ven. Thích Trừng Sỹ